Monday, February 21, 2011

Zarkov Barbossa, Chap 2

The Gorgonid mine lives up to its name. The entrance is beyond massive; you could probably walk a Warhound into it. Monstrous floodlights provide illumination, but there are several places where the mine recedes into darkness that your eye just can’t pierce.

We walked for perhaps an hour before we reached the door they’d erected to seal off the Shatters. It was a massive structure, with mighty gears the size of a Leman Russ. It took a full ten minutes for the techpriests to wind it open, and Ignace stared in awe the entire time. The gleam in his eye spoke of reverence. Finally, the entryway to the Shatters stood open.

“We’ll keep a team here”, the commissar said, “in case you return. Code is 473. The Emperor Protects.”

I turned to the team. “Barick, will you take tail?” He nodded affirmative. “I’ll take point, I’ve got the armor for it.” I pulled the shotgun off my back, setting the selector for semi-auto fire. I was pretty sure I’d need it for close-quarters scrapping. I hate it when I’m right.

“Let’s do this”, Barick said. We walked forward, the great gears of the seal already turning to close off the Shatters. Minutes later, as we walked, we heard the massive door close with a great, throaty boom. We all stopped, nearly in unison.

“That’s not ominous at all”, Sila drawled with obvious sarcasm. A few smiles and chuckles met her statement, and I nodded to her in approval.

We moved on, hiking for quite a while. At points, the tunnels grew close, and we noticed what seemed to be scorchmarks on the walls. I’m no miner, but I didn’t think some of those marks were from ore extraction. Ignace stopped momentarily to touch the blackened stone, muttering under his breath about carbon scoring and mineral composition. I may never understand the way the cogboy thinks, but he makes a hell of an asset.

A full two hours into our journey, we finally came to a narrowing in the passage, blocked by a two meter wide door. It was red in color, a barrier of steel and iron standing sentinel to Emperor only knew what. The inscription at the top of the portal read XII, but a more informal name had been burned into the door by some woebegone worker with a cutting torch: “Shattered Hope”. A wheel was set in the center of the door, much like a bulkhead door on a ship.

I motioned Barick to me as Ignace grasped the wheel. The techpriest turned it quickly, swinging it outward, and Barick and I advanced through the opening, shotguns at the ready. It took us only seconds to sweep the corridor, and we saw no targets. “Clear”, we both said in unison.

We stood, and the rest of the team joined us. The inside of the door was marred by claw marks, and the walls and floor were browned by a liberal dousing of dried blood. How it got there, we could only imagine, and I noticed Venus make the sign of the aquila over her chest. The stone here was ragged, sloppy in comparison to the rest of the mine; the lighting seemed to have a ruddy quality to it, as if the very stones should weep blood for the fallen. I shook the thought away, pointing out the branches ahead to the team with my left hand.

Sila pointed to the right hand passage, and we silently agreed to take that pathway first. I rounded the corner with Ignace at my elbow, a las-carbine ready in his hands. My breath caught in my throat as motion drew my eye, the shotgun swiveling, ready to fire. I emptied my lungs in a long silent sigh as I realized I was only targeting a centipede, bright orange and as long as my forearm, but pretty well harmless.

I forced myself to relax, trying to stay loose. We continued our advance, entering a ragged chamber with a shallow pit to one side. We spread out, looking for anything to give us a clue what had happened here. What we found, though, was enough to put a sumphole-cleaner off his lunch.

Sila made a little noise, as if she’d started to scream but held it in check. We all followed her gaze at the pit, and six faces looked coldly, back at us. Six heads, with no bodies or belongings to be found, had been arranged in a semi circle in that pit. All of us made some variant of the aquila, most of us just the half-wing thumb in palm you can do with one hand.

As we were looking, I heard a ragged, wet slosh of a breath behind me. It was nothing anyone on the team had done since I’d met them, and I brought the shotgun up to my shoulder as I pivoted off my back foot. Venus was behind me, and I noted her startled expression as the shotgun’s maw stared into her eyes, but I also noted a disfigured monster behind her and without hesitation, I yelled “Drop!”

Venus complied without thinking, dropping to her left side, heedless of the effect of landing on the hard rock. As soon as I registered her motion, my finger convulsed on the shotgun’s trigger, and I made a mess of the thing’s chest. As it reeled backward, more shots poured into it from my companions, and I didn’t even need to put a second round into it. I offered up a silent thanks to the Emperor, our first contact had gone as well as I could have hoped, everyone meshing like one of Ignace’s machines.

I offered Venus a hand up as I looked down upon the fresh corpse. It was one of the most disgusting things I’d ever seen, and I’ve fought Orks before. A mutant, dressed in the tattered remains of a guard uniform, its face looked like wax brought too close to a kiln. It also had a few extra eyeballs, now dimmed in death.

What in the name of the Emperor is that?” Sila exclaimed. Her normally pretty face was scrunched into a mask of pure disgust.

“Judging by the clothing and dog tags, I would venture that it is, or rather was, one of the Guardsmen lost here”, Ignace answered.

Barick chimed in, “Wait…how does a guardsman end up looking…that?” Eyes wide, he pointed to the mutant’s face as he stuttered, clearly disturbed as we all were.

“Well, that sounds like a mission objective to me”, I said. Barick looked at me accusingly, and I winked at him with a good humor I didn’t particularly feel. “Let’s keep doing this.”

We moved out again into the main tunnel, relieved to see no movement after the commotion we’d caused putting the big mutant down. Ignace pointed to a door on the left side of the passage, and we moved toward it. I reached a hand out to the wheel and gave it a spin, then a short kick to open it. The door was not impressed, and shrugged off my kick, remaining closed. It wasn’t so much my pride that was hurt as my foot, and Barick moved up to assist as we bounced off the door a few times with our shoulders.

Eventually, the door gave way, and we brought our guns up in unison as our eyes took in the room. It seemed to be a shelter room, a place for miners to retreat to in case of cave-in. Huddled against the far wall, a dirty man whose clothes had been reduced to rags shivered. He was a bit emaciated, and I wondered how long he’d been holed up in here.

“Don’t kill me!” he screamed. He held his hands in front of him defensively, as if to ward off bullets.

I glanced at Venus, and she shook her head slightly, indicating that she detected no warp activity. Barick moved forward, asking the poor man what had happened.

He had little to say, the poor bastard, pretty much answering any question with “I hid here. Guns!”, or some variation of that. I pantomimed a head shot to Barick, but he shook his head firmly.

“I’m going to take him out of here,” Barick said. We waited silently in the little room while Barick carried the small man bodily to the doorway, instructing him to meet us at the Seal. I had a bad feeling about it, but let it go. I am much more likely than Barick to solve a problem with bullets, but still, I worried that the miner should be given the Emperor’s Mercy.

Barick returned to us quickly, and we prepared to get back to business. Nothing could prepare us for the carnage we were about to find.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Zarkov Barbossa, Chap 1

And so the more fleshed out tale of Zarkov Barbossa and the other Acolytes of Inquisitor Jonas begins. 6 paragraphs of journal gets detail, character introductions, dialogue, and swells into a full chapter. Enjoy!

We hadn’t finished our training yet, so I felt a bit nervous reading the mission brief. We’d just received a flash-dispatch from Inquisitor Jonas, and as we were his closest assets to Sepheris Secundus, we’d been given the nod to run our first investigation for him as a lead team, to be later relieved by some of his more veteran agents.

I sat at a long table, a steaming mug of recaf in one hand, as I listened to Sila read the particulars. Tall, tan, and blonde, and with a voice like smooth amasec, Sila just happened to be smart as a whip. A bit odd for all that, she was recruited from the Adminstratum, and was able to sweet talk datalooms into giving up their secrets. She still wore the green robes of her former office, and in fact all of us were still using our own personal gear.

“Once we’ve reached Sepheris Secundus, we’ll be making planetfall close to the Gorgonid Mine. An Imperial Guard unit has run a cleansing operation there to deal with a cultist menace. They encountered success until reaching an area the locals refer to as the Shatters, and they have sealed that area off completely and requested Inquisitorial intercession.”

Sila continued to detail the particulars of the mine, but my mind wandered a bit as it usually does during the boring part of mission briefs. I looked across the table at Venus, our psyker. I’d never worked with a psyker before, and I found myself wondering what she could do. Her dark hair framed a pretty face, and her fingers fidgeted constantly with a pendant around her neck. Her head snapped up and her eyes met mine, and I quickly looked away.

“What can we expect for support?” Barick asked in his baritone. A member of the Adeptus Arbites, he represented the law enforcement aspect of our cell. When he wasn’t wearing the Arbites armor, one could best describe Barick as “average.” Average height, average build, average looks, dark hair, mid 30’s: he wasn’t the sort to stand out in a crowd.

“We’ll be on our own”, Sila replied. “Our task is to discover the truth of the Shatters, so that others may cleanse it properly.”

Ignace was next to respond, in his near-monotone. “The Omnissiah shall watch over us. Our mandate is clear.” Like most tech-priests, he was truly something to look at. The lower half of his face was obscured by augmetics for comms and a respirator, and there were always clicks and whirs issuing from under his red robes. As near as I could tell, he was young, but truly I was only judging by the lack of gadgets attached to his person. He could have had any number of juvenat or other treatments in his temple before joining our little band.

Sila raised one eyebrow in response. She didn’t like to be interrupted. “It will be 18 hours until we arrive, and there’s a lighter waiting for us in bay 2”, she said.

“Alright, then”, I said, standing. “Let’s get gear ready and meet in the shuttle bay in 15 hours. I suggest getting some rack time if you need it.” I winced inwardly, reminding myself that in this band, we were equals. My habits as a merc sergeant were proving hard to break.

“Quite right, Zarkov” Sila responded. She left the room without further comment, and I followed suit.

The lighter was a small and nimble shuttle, built more for comfort than any dropship I’d ridden in my mercenary days. It felt a little decadent to ride dirtside in an acceleration couch rather than cargo netting seats. The entry into the atmosphere of Sepheris Secundus was almost leisurely; I’d grown accustomed to stomach lurching approaches to avoid enemy fire. I looked out the viewport next to my seat, watching the planet lose its curvature as we descended.

The surface of Sepheris Secundus was marred by great scars where man had mined it for its resources. Those scars had grown over millennia, and would surely continue to do so until the globe could offer no more value.

The descent continued, eventually becoming a final approach, and we passed a true wonder. I’ve been to many worlds, and each has its own feature or creation or three that boggles the mind. On this world, near the Gorgonid mine, is the Glass City. It hangs from beneath a mind-boggling mass of mountain, a carved bridge of land of gargantuan size. Thousands of souls live there, administering the various mining operations of the world. The entire city is built from a sturdy silicate material, giving the place the look of a glass sculpture writ large. I took a moment for myself to soak in the sight before returning my thoughts to the mission at hand.

The lighter settled to the ground without even a bump, and I grabbed my gear and started to kit up. My combat rig isn’t the best for sitting comfortably, and I’d left the top half of my flak armor in my kit bag. In seconds I was dressed, checking the magnetic strips on the back that married to my weapons. On the left side of my back, I put my lasgun in place; on the right, my combat shotgun. They mag-clamped into place, tucked where a twist could draw either at a moment’s notice. For years, they’d been constant companions, and had seen me through more than a few tight spaces, especially the flak armor.

The boarding ramp opened, and we disembarked, gathering in a small semi circle at the bottom of the ramp. We were at the edge of a small encampment, a bivouac leeched to the buildings and equipment of a normal mining installation. A young troop came running up to us, his uniform slightly large on his thin frame.

“You must be the Inquisitor!” he said, looking right at Venus. “Come with me please, I’ll take you to the Sarge! Er…I mean, to Sergeant Raynard!” He danced from foot to foot with nervousness, and I decided to try to relax him a bit.

“Lead on, son. We’ll follow.” He settled a bit and turned around, and I shared a smile with Venus as he did, and gestured to her in an after you flourish.

As we walked through the bivouac, I realized they’d been hurt pretty bad. There was a lot of shiny new kit here, and shiny new faces lugging it around. Fresh troops, rotated in to cover losses.

As we walked by the medicae tent, a high pitched laugh poured out from it. It was disturbing, to say the least, tinged with lunacy. I’d seen combat fatigue before, but something had broken at least one trooper’s mind here. I made the sign of the aquila across my chest, hoping we were not about to face the Archenemy; we didn’t have near enough firepower for a Chaos incursion.

We came upon Sergeant Raynard in short order, bawling at his troops to get their asses in gear on some task or another. I smiled involuntarily, a warm nostalgia washing over me. I can’t recall how many times I’ve given much the same speech. Barick coughed to get his attention, and he turned to us.

“Oh, hey, you lot must be here for the Shatters. Which one of you is the Inquisitor? Wait…ah. I see.” He surely realized none of us were full on Throne agents. “Well, the commissar is waiting for you, anyway. Or did you want to get kitted out?”

Ignace spoke, again in his near monotone. “It would behoove us to arm ourselves before we begin. We should see your Munitorum supply agency.”

“Get me some frag grenades, Ignace” I said. “I’m going to talk to the Sarge here and get a sitrep.”

“I’ll take the opportunity to research the history of this mine, as well”, Sila added.

The rest of the team went along with the techpriest, led there by the wet-behind-the-ears trooper who had met us. I looked at the sergeant, noticing the weariness around his eyes, the slight bend to his shoulders.

“You’re not just hired muscle”, Sergeant Raynard said.

“Nope. Served as a merc. Fought some rebels, fought some orks.” I replied.

“It’s real shit in there, man. We don’t know what the frak hit us. Just black as a banker’s heart in there, and twice as ugly.”

His eyes grew distant, his shoulders slumped more. He seemed to fold in on himself, and I knew he was about to open up in a way fighting men don’t often like to.

“Look, we lost some good ones down there. One of my friends, been with me for ages man. Didn’t come out. You…” His voice trailed off, but I saw the question in his eyes.

“We’ll look for him, Sergeant. And I’ll give the Emperor’s own wrath to whatever hurt your boys”, I said.

He walked a few steps to a duffel and reached into it. He sank one arm up to the shoulder into it, grasping around like a child for a teat.

“If you do, use this”, he said, bringing a massive revolver out of the duffel. It was a massive GM-6, a heavy slug shooter that could probably stop a charging grox with one shot. He held it out to me with both hands, almost reverently. I took it from him, realizing it might have belonged to his lost friend. An inscription on the barrel read “Give ‘em Hell.” I turned it over in my hand, then tucked it into the back of my belt.

“Sarge”, I said, “I’ll pull the trigger myself.” We both knew it was only wishful thinking, but we also both knew it was a soldierly ritual millennia in the making. He wouldn’t be going back into that mine, but I would soon. So it was my job, for now, to take revenge for those he couldn’t keep breathing; to make their deaths meaningful in the eyes of Him on Earth. Being in command of a squad of men isn’t just about giving orders, it’s about keeping them alive enough to accomplish the mission, to only spend lives when there is no other way. Any line officer who forgets that usually ends up with his holes in the back, rather than the side facing the foe.

I saluted him, out of respect, and gave him a nod. I walked off then to rejoin the team, outside the Munitorum tent. Sila filled us in on the history of the mine, but honestly my mind was drifting as I watched the hustle around me. Something she said brought my mind crashing back to the here and now, though.

“Say that again, Sila?”

“Well if you’d listen”, she huffed, “I said that this mine once had a Chaos cult cleansed from it, and these men are concerned that this is a recursion of that same taint.”

Well, there was nothing any of us had to say to that, but plenty for us to think about. We moved on to the “Pre Fab Hab” the unit’s Commissar was using for quarters and office, our steps just a bit heavier, I think. On the way, the techpriest handed me three frag grenades and a microbead vox that he’d obtained from the quartermaster. I nodded my thanks to him, hooking the grenades onto a strap of my flak armor.

The Commissar was a stout man, built like a fireplug. His hair and eyes were both black as deep space; his face was a craggy cliff carved from equal parts dour and scowl. The trademark cap was hung on a hook behind him, as was his stormcoat. He looked up at our entrance, and a dark cloud seemed to pass across his face.

“Well. You must be what the vaunted Inquisition has sent to bail our arse out of the warp, eh? We’re frakked.”

He stood then, a hand stroking the butt of his bolt pistol in a gesture born of long habit.

“Four squads worth of troops we lose, and they send us pups?” His eyes bounced then to Barick and I, and he nodded then. “Well, who am I to question? If you’re ready, I’ll take you to the seal.”

There wasn’t much for us to say to that, so Ignace spoke for us. “That would seem the prudent course, Commissar.” With that, we headed off to enter the mine. I wondered for a moment if we would become a team in the trial surely to come, or if we’d end up as tally marks on some Munitorum sheet for casualties, or worse, come to rest in the medicae tent, laughing maniacally for our days and nights to come. I took a deep breath, made the sign of the aquila, and walked into the maw of the Gorgonid.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dark and Heretical, Rough

So, one of the things that I like to do is let the characters talk to me. I'll do something completely in their voice, in the world, as a journal or report. Then, I can expand the summary into something more robust, more detailed, and involving dialogue and character. I'm working on the first mission that Zarkov Barbossa and the rest of the team completed, and those of you who play Dark Heresy might recognize the setting.
For those not in the know, this is the Warhammer 40,000 universe, which you can go ahead and google to your heart's content. The genre is a ton of fun, a dark and gritty Imperium with an Inquisition that safeguards it from heresy, xenos, and evil.
Here's the journal that the fiction will be based on, and in a little while, we can compare it with a more fleshed-out story.

++Guardsman Zarkov Barbossa++
++Report of Action, Calixis Sector, Sepheris Secundus, Gorgonid Mine++
++The Glorious Imperium of Man++
Thought of the Day: A weak mind is a playground for heresy.
++Classified: Alpha Crimson Four++

++Our training not yet complete, I was quite surprised to read our flash-dispatch to Sepheris Secundus. Our team is newly formed, and we still had our personal gear with us. Fortunately for me, when I left the merc unit they mustered me out with my armor and las-weapons. Other members of the team were not so fortunate, and so not armed as well.

There's me, Zarkov Barbossa. I'm under no illusions about my position on this team...I've got the experience in tactics and sending the Emperor's Fury downrange, be it slugs, shot, or las-bolts. Venus is our psyker...I'm surprised she let us know, but hell, she's the Emperor of Man trusts her, or at least his servants do. I'd never worked with a psyker before...kind of spooky. Sila is our Adept...good for digging up those bits of information from the Adminstratum that mean the difference between a thumb in your arse and a target in your sights. We've also got a young tech-priest...or at least, I think he's young, because he doesn't have many augmetics...and a member of the Adeptus Arbites, the law enforcement member of our team. I'd worked with mixed squads before, but by the Throne, this would be different.

We arrived to an amazing sight...the glass city slung under the mountain...well, you had to see it. No amount of explanation can wrap a brain around it. Dammit, how do I attach a pict file to this damn journal...damn, is this thing still recording? ++sounds of striking++ -king piece of tech!
We got dropped off at a small Imperial Guard encampment, and met by a youngster that damn near pissed himself at the sight of us. He led us to his Sergeant, Raynard, who turned out to be a decent sort. He told me about a friend of his lost in the mines, and handed me a stub revolver that I think belonged to him. I promised I'd keep my eye out.

I knew something wasn't right here; there was a lot of new kit, and new troops. And worse than that, a maniacal laugh was coming from the medicae tent. I’ve seen combat fatigue before, but that was a bit spooky. I’m sure they’d seen a recent turnover, which could only mean casualties, and not a small number of them

We were led to the hab-block of the Commisar, and he looked none too happy to see us. I think he was expecting a full on inquisitor. He certainly thought we were overmatched, and I guess he was right.

Long story short, the Commisar had lost some squads down in the mine, in a section called the Shatters. Sounds ominous, right? Damn skippy it was. What little scuttlebutt I could pick up around the camp mentioned "lots of eyes" and not much was obvious these men, some of them battle hardened veterans, were uneasy. Well, I just made the sign of the aquila and met with the rest of the team. They'd been doing a bit of research on the mine, and our had been getting us vox sets to use. We assembled, and the Commisar led us down into the mine.

They'd sealed off the Shatters. Now, when I say "sealed off", I mean they built a door so heavy it took them a half hour to get it out of our way. I thought our cogboy was going to make a mess in his robes. Nah, that's probably an augmetic. Anyway, once the thing was opened, in we went. I took point, since I've got the armour. I decided to use my shotgun, thinking it would probably be close-quarters fighting. Damn, I hate when I'm right.

It was a hell of a slog, and it looked like some damage had been done. I'm no miner, but some of the rock looked baked. The Shatters had another door, which we popped through standard and quick. It was nasty behind the door. A long passage, branches off of it where the miners had followed the ore, and blood everywhere. Stupid amounts of it. I started to get a bad feeling. We took the first branch, and found a shallow pit, with a bunch of severed heads. Not good.

Suddenly, I heard a heavy breath behind me...ragged, wet. It wasn't anything my team had done since I met them, so I spun and started the shotgun up to my shoulder. A very, very ugly mutant was standing behind Venus, holding the ruined bayonet end of a lasgun high overhead. I yelled "Drop!", and luckily she did, without thinking. My first shot made a mess of the thing's chest, and we brought it down in short order. I was surprised to find that it was a guardsman...something had twisted it horribly...its face looked like it was made of wax put too close to a kiln.

Another branch, we had to pound our way through a jammed door. We found a miner in there, and he looked OK. I should have put a round in his head, but our lawboy carried him back to the door and put him outside, with instructions to go back to the Seal. The road to the warp is paved with such good intentions, or so I'm told.

Another room surprised us with 4 hostiles, all mutated like the first. I called to the tech priest and remanded him for not being able to get any flash-bangs from the unit quartermaster up top. I guess that gave Venus the idea, and I didn't know she could do it. Before I know it, she's bright and loud, and the mutants are stunned and glossy eyed. I had to really work to target them, though, as Venus started spitting lightning and floating up into the air. OK, so working with psykers is going to take some serious getting used to. I called for everyone to go right, to hug the right wall and deny half of the mutants a target. Cogboy went left. No time to think about it, I just started firing shots. I emptied the shotgun and drew the GM-6, which had the inscription "Give Em Hell" on the that's what I call it now. The mutants were unable to withstand our assault, and we were only lightly wounded...a few scratches and dings is all.

We continued to clear the place, until finally finding a large chamber with a seriously eerie pink glow. I know, pink doesn't sound too spooky, but if you were there, you'd get it. A crystal was pulsing and flashing...big one. And then out of nowhere, this one eyed green thing just pops into existence, pretty as you please. Sila and cogboy couldn't handle the sight, and took off running. The rest of us started pumping rounds into it. It seemed wobbly, and I shouted ablutions at it in the Emperor's Name, like I'd heard a priest do once in the merc company. I don't know if it helped, but it made me feel better, and that helped me put rounds into it. It smacked me a couple times with its sword, but my armor managed to hold. So I came out of that with some bruised ribs, but nothing horrible. It wasn't easy to put down, that's for sure.

Once it went down, the damn crystal starts flashing again. The Arbitrator popped a round into it, but just chipped it. I yelled for everyone to get out, and pulled the pins on three frag grenades, dropping them off at the base of the plinth. Then I ran, like I've never run before. I could have outrun a charging grox. I heard the lovingly familiar "crump" of detonation, and then the light went right again. I poked my head back in, and things looked finished.

From there, it was just clean up. I should mention that we did find the Sergeant's friend...he'd given his comrades the business end of a heavy stubber in the back. Well, that probably spared them the indignity of becoming mutants, and he took his own life afterward, so we planned to tell the Sarge he died doing the Emperor's work. Maybe that's a lie, but what the frak.

That damned miner found us again, and worse, he'd gotten himself mutated. As we were leaving, the commisar gave him the Emperor's Mercy.

As a first action, this went pretty well. The others picked up on non-verbal instructions quickly, and we managed to array ourselves well in each conflict action. And hell, we managed to live, while dealing with something horrific that could have turned us all into slavering muties. Not too bad.

Next stop, uh...some frakkin' hive world to investigate some other something. This is what life will be now. Going here, going there, doing the work of the Holy Inquisition...and busting some heads when that's called for.

Right. Done. Uh. Frak. How does this damned thing turn off? Ouch! Dammit! Where the frak is the pow++

++report ends++

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ian, #1

I reached out from the sheets, my eyes screwed shut against the assault of the alarm. My hand knew the way from long practice, and slapped the "Alarm OFF" button out of habit. I had raged on with a vengeance last night, and my head didn’t waste any time at all reminding me of the fact.

I didn’t look at the clock, knowing it would just show me 5 AM, accusingly. I stumbled out of the bedroom and headed for the shower, letting the hot water wash away the last bit of sleep, hoping it would put a dent in my headache. It didn’t.

I hit the kitchen for some brekkie, nuking a sandwich and popping a few Tylenol to calm my skull down. I downed some OJ and out the door I went.

At the base of the stairs, I zipped up my coat against winter’s chill breath, and let my legs take me out to the street. I made sure my pistol was snug against my side in its holster, stretched a bit, and finally got started on my day. It only took a few blocks to get my legs to cooperate, and by the first mile I’d actually hit my stride. By the second mile, my head had gotten less foggy, and I was actually enjoying the bite of the cold air in my lungs.

It was only a 5 mile run to the office, and I’d made it a habit to start my daily workout by running in. Once I got to the Genesys offices, I’d hit the gym, then the showers. Such was my routine. I had no idea how different this day would be, just how far out of the routine I was going to go.

I spent that day as I spent most days: training the newbies, going over security reports, and generally making myself a pain in the ass. It’s all part of being lead security consultant for a multi-billion dollar genetics corporation. Sometimes, though, the job makes itself a pain in my ass.

By evening, I had done a good deal of work, and also a good deal of not work. Security can be boring when it’s done right. I had just opened up the mini fridge next to my desk and reached in for a Sam Adams White Ale when my red phone rang. I let out an impatient sigh, and tapped my headset to answer the call.

“Corwin here” I said.

“Sir, it’s Johnson down in the labs. We have an incident, sir. One of the subjects is loose.”

“Lock down the building and set perimeter, I’m on my way.” I keyed my headset from office phone to securenet, checked my gun, and headed out the door at a trot.

In a multi-billion dollar genetics corporation, and especially one that works on genetically engineered super soldiers for the government, you’ve got to be ready for just about anything. The last time a subject had gone bonkers, Genesys had to pay for rebuilding three block’s worth of damage. That’s why they’d brought me on, and now it was time to test my work. I should have studied harder for this one.

I took the stairs down to the lab level, dropping down two at a time. I paused only briefly when I got to the doorway, swiping my card to unlock it, and then pushed through, pistol leading. I’d actually inserted myself inside the perimeter my boys had created by doing so, and I was eager to see how they’d perform.

I rounded the corner to the main lab to see a hominid form based on a German Shepherd, looking wildly about. He stood there on two legs, his hands out in front of him. To my surprise, I also saw a man in a suit, faced off against it. They were in mid tussle, and I shouted out my best Hawaii Five O “Freeze!” It didn’t do much, and they ignored me.

I watched as the military-looking bloke took a shot at the self-walking dog, and my jaw dropped a bit as I realized the bullet had hit him, but seemed to frag off of his fur somehow. Damn, those lab rats had really been working hard on this one, and I wondered what had sent him over the edge.

As I kept a sight picture and yelled again, the dog bit down on the man’s gun-hand, letting go immediately and trying to disengage. My finger tightened on the trigger, and the dog yelped as I hit it in the leg, trying to take him down with minimal damage.

That got both of their attention, and the dog-man rushed me, incredibly quick, using all four limbs. I tried to wrestle him down, pulling his head down in a Muay Thai clinch, but he managed to sink his teeth into my thigh. It was my turn to yelp a bit, and I brought the gun barrel down on his head. He seemed not to notice, and sprang away from me. In a few blinks and another shot that I’m not sure if I missed or hit, the test subject made it around the corner and out of my sight. I keyed my mic.

“Subject is hominid dog, heading for perimeter. Be aware there’s another bloke loose in here, dressed like an exec.” I looked around for the intruder, but couldn’t find him. I ran down the hall with a pronounced limp, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mystery man.

Minutes ticked by, and the watch captain called me up, not on the net, but on my cell. Great, I thought, he’s embarrassed. This can’t be good.

“Corwin, go.” I said.

“Ian, I have bad news” he said. “The test subject got clear of us; we’re going to have a long night. He broke through the perimeter, there’s a team of 3 in medical now.”

“Shit” I breathed. “What about the other bloke?”

“Cameras caught him making an exit, sir. I’m sorry, but we’re batting a big fat zero tonight.”

“Well, some days the dingo gets the baby” I joked. It was a running gag the troops had with me, given that I’d come from the land down under. Then I looked at my thigh. Maybe the joke wasn’t funny today.

“Get a team together and track the test subject down, we have to get him back. Keep me posted, I’ll be in my office.”

Bill said he’d get on it, and hung up. I went to my office to check video footage, and to wrap a bandage on my bite. I figured I’d have a medic look at it later, which would turn out to be my worst choice of the night, and there had been plenty of bad ones to choose from.

Getting Started

So, this is the place I intend to use for fictional works. Some will be short, some will be long. Some will suck, some will be fucking awesome. Some will be me trying to find a voice for a story.
I play a ton of games, though the time frame on them is often drawn out, because we are all busy as hell. No two games have the same cast of players, it makes it easier to play something at some time.
At time of writing, I've got material from 1 D&D game, 2 Dark Heresy games, a budding Deathwatch game, Heroes Unlimited, and a sweet ass Rogue Trader game I'm running. Not to mention snippets from a LARP I run. (except I just mentioned it.) There's a heavy 40k influence there at present, but I do love the genre.

Some of these are easy to write...the Dark Heresy game I play in, I kept a PC journal for extra XP anyway, so that one has written itself, though I may add more dialogue and such to keep it interesting. The Heroes game will be very easy, as the personality is an Aussie version of me...I'll pad that out to make it real stories, expanding from what happens in the game to really dig into the character's head.

The Rogue Trader game I intend to have a lot of fun with, I GM that one so I get a lot more perspective on what's going on in the rest of the world. It's also a game that has huge scope, and I can enjoy writing a villain in the rival dynasty of the heroes.

The D&D game will be a challenge, as I'm playing a not-at-all-what-I-usually-play character, a big stupid Shifter Barbarian. He has an intelligence of 8, which is challenging to write in first person and still be entertaining. I might shift perspective on that, and do 1st person intros. We'll see.

Of course, it all may suck...but I intend to have a blast with it anyway! :)